The North Star has dropped its paywall during this COVID-19 crisis so that pertinent information and analysis is available to everyone during this time. This is only possible because of the generous support of our members. We rely on these funds to pay our staff to continue to provide high-quality content. If you are able to support, we invite you to do so here.
Yesterday, as we learned that nearly 17 million Americans have lost their jobs these past 3 weeks, I said the blame for how little support they’ve received falls square on the heads of both Democrats and Republicans. But this morning I saw something that truly made my blood boil. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she might not even bring Congress back in session after the recess that they are currently on. WHAT? Is she serious?
It’s already outrageous that they aren’t in session, in the middle of a global pandemic where the United States is the epicenter of it all, but for her to now say they might not even return? It’s unthinkable.
Congress is supposed to represent the people and the people are hurting. The people are struggling. People are hungry and homeless. People are afraid. Color me stupid, but why did I assume that Congress would actually have a plan in place for how to do their work if the nation was ever in an emergency situation like we’re in right now? Every student in America from kindergarten through college is going to school remotely. Over a hundred million Americans are working remotely. We’re winging it.
Over this past month, Congress should’ve already figured out how they can properly govern remotely. Local governments are doing it across the country. They don’t have a choice. What I guess shocks me is that Nancy Pelosi thought Congress had a choice. This is a national emergency. It requires national action but because Congress is literally MIA, it has allowed Donald Trump to fill the gap and be the lone voice of authority each and every day. This is not just bad for appearances, it’s bad for the actual problems we’re facing. What in the hell did we elect these people for if not to represent our interests in a national emergency?
If Congress had asked Zoom or Google a month ago to create a secure, top secret way for them to be in session together, it would’ve been done in days, if not hours. They likely already have something in place for themselves. As I type this, ideas for how to organize and manage such a thing are already coming to my mind. A few smart people could’ve put this in place already. They could’ve found a way to televise it so that everyday people saw that Congress actually cares and is fighting for them.
Instead, it’s crickets. Nothing. Complete silence.
And here’s what I know — they’re still getting paid. Their direct deposits keep on hitting. They haven’t lost their health insurance or benefits. Maybe that’s why they aren’t in a hurry to figure any of this out for us? They are taken care of while the rest of us wonder if we’ll be evicted or have our utilities cut off soon. On April 20th, when Congress is supposed to be back in session, it’s perfectly fine if they don’t all fly to DC, but they at least need be in a remote session. Anything less than that is a slap in the face to the nation.